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Old 06-18-2012, 01:47 PM
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Cutting electrical PVC pipe in tight confines with wire inside

I was a bit stumped this morning and just had to pass along this solution that I found on Youtube.

I'm building a small shed (actually a couple of them) by an existing concrete slab that already had 220 wiring run underground to the slab. The problem was that the electrical PVC and wiring exited the ground almost smack dab in the middle of where I wanted to put my shed door. So I needed to reroute the PVC and wiring.

Well, after digging down about a foot which would allow me to attach a 90 degree sweep, I quickly faced a major to cut off the existing PVC pipe, about a foot down in a hole, without nicking or damaging the four #6 wires inside the conduit. Here is a picture of the situation. I took this after the conduit was cut off and removed but it will help give an idea of the problem.

After considering a number of solutions (like using a hack saw blade without the handle and working my way VERY carefully around the pipe) I did a quick Google search and found a solution I would have never believed had I not tried it myself.

The tool...every-day nylon string or cord available at any hardware probably have spools of it all over your shop. Just wrap the string part way around the pipe, grab each end of the string, and start "sawing" back and forth. Here is a quick video which show the process much better than I could.

It took maybe two minutes...since I was still being pretty careful to work my way around the pipe and not make contact with the wiring inside...and there wasn't a mark to be found on the wire when I was done.

Good trick...and thanks to the wonders of the internet, Youtube, and Mr. Google.

Always learning...and sharing what I've learned.
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Old 06-18-2012, 08:31 PM
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Yep, you can cut it like that. They also make a cable cutter with handles on each end to cut it. Friction is finally good for something when it comes to stuff like this.
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:33 PM
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Quite the trick,, never too old to learn new tricks, thanks for the video , Cboy
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Old 06-19-2012, 02:44 PM
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My problem is I will forget this cool trick in two years when I need it.

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Old 06-23-2012, 04:57 PM
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S-10 beat me to that one. the other answer are those PVC cutting pliars. you can cut the pipe off without going all the way thru the whole thing, releasing it and then rotating.

the hack saw thing is better if you break the pipe off above where you want to cut it, then put the wire thru a piece of 1/2" pvc pipe or emt , shove the pipe in past where you want to cut it with the saw blade, and this will protect the wires from the blade. this is if the pipe you want to cut is big enough to swallow the 1/2". Of course, you could always go pull the wire out of the raceway then pull it back in?

btw those pvc cutting pliars have to have the pipe somewhere in the seventies. i have tried just recently to cut 50 degree pvc and it just shattered it. they only cut 1/2 and 3/4 pvc worth a damn tho.
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Old 06-23-2012, 06:09 PM
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Would a regular, steel tubing, tube cutter no have worked also? They don't "slip" or accidentally go too deep. Maybe it wouldn't have worked, but if not, could someone explain?

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